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Making TRACS

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Making TRACS

Guest blog by Donald Smith
TRACS is a new collaboration between three representative Forums: the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum and the newly formed Traditions of Dance Forum. It stands for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. In Gaelic that reads Ealain is Cultar Traidiseanta Alba, in Scots, Airts an Tradeetions Scotland.

Guest blog by Donald Smith

TRACS is a new collaboration between three representative Forums: the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum and the newly formed Traditions of Dance Forum. It stands for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. In Gaelic that reads Ealain is Cultar Traidiseanta Alba, in Scots,  Airts an Tradeetions Scotland.

The first aim of TRACS is CREATIVE : to encourage more collaboration across the art-forms and languages. The Traditions we enjoy are holistic, inclusive and welcoming. So let’s be inspired by these rooted values to innovate and develop across boundaries.

The second aim is ORGANISATIONAL: to share core resources in areas such as admin and publicity, so as  to ensure effective communication and promotion for Trad Arts activities. We could project our collective assets of artists, festivals/fèisean and local traditions more strongly to our cultural and economic benefit.

The third aim is DEVELOPMENTAL: to lobby for more support for Trad Arts, to build partnerships with other arts organisations, with education and with  areas of Scottish life which can benefit from Trad Arts resources and activities.

The fourth aim is PRACTICAL: to provide a forum for strategic discussion to which all can contribute, and to undertake specific tasks that may be better done together than separately. This of course recognises that there will continue to be many things better done by the Forums in their own right, and above all by the many organisations delivering vital services and activities across Scotland. TRACS will always seek to support, encourage and publicise their work.

These developments are still at an early stage. TRACS has been constituted as a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation, owned by the three Forums. Gary West is the Chair and SSF and TMF are currently providing admin support. Creative Scotland has put in a modest pilot grant. At present the Scottish Storytelling Centre is providing house room for meetings and workshops, and opening up its programme to all the Trad Arts. The idea of a Trad Arts hub/shop window on the Capital’s High Street has its attractions if it can be linked in with centres of activity in other cities and regions. Building up such a network of hubs must be a key aim for TRACS and the associated Forums.

This is the story so far. My belief is that Arts inspired by tradition have huge untapped potential to foster local participation and to project Scotland internationally as a truly creative nation- from the grassroots. Give us your thoughts, ideas and dreams for the future. The time may have come for a little more self-belief. In a time of cuts and re-organisations lets be game changers and not victims.

Dr Donald Smith is a storyteller, playwright, novelist and performance poet, and Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre.